Before we start, I need to make it clear that there are a disappointing lack of benches in this week’s episode. It’s also a very Audrey centric episode, which I guess had to happen at some point, but proves almost as dull as the history lessons she teaches.
Scary as it is to see Christine plotting Audrey’s downfall in between swigs of vodka, part of me thinks Miss McFall had it coming. She’s just so damn self-righteous.
Taking on Rhiannon’s cause this week, for want of anything better to do, the busy body history teacher throws out words of encouragement such as ‘I think you’re compensating for your weight by playing the clown!’, before following her student to the toilets and pressing up against the cubicle door whispering ‘I understand what you’re going through’.
Which is supportive only if you happen to find comfort in someone being particularly creepy.
Turns out Audrey does know what Rhiannon is going through, as she was also overweight in school. She can prove it too, whipping out her school photo from at least 75 years ago, which she clearly carries around for the regular instances when people question her first-hand experience of childhood obesity:
‘I used to spend my life comfort eating. I was bullied relentlessly at school!’ she reminisces, with a fond smile on her face, in much the same way people recall altogether happier things. Like old Saturday morning TV.
Not content with comparing her to Peter Kay and making her learn history after the bell’s gone, Miss McFall then forces Rhiannon to attend her teambuilding lunchtime powerwalk along the canal and promptly marches off into the rain with her walking poles, abandoning the straggler.
One extremely feeble ‘collapse’ later, and Rhiannon is confessing, self-harming and all, to the teacher. Audrey has a bit of an epiphany at this point, and starts banging on to anyone who’ll listen that she was WRONG! She made a MISTAKE! And she’s SORRY! It’s fair to say she’s equally as annoying remorseful as she was judgemental.
Back at drunk teacher mum camp, Christine is hell bent on ruining Audrey’s career, rejecting her heartfelt apology outright. Her long suffering son seems to have finally realised that his mum is ‘not right in the head’, and tells her so to her face (although she just laughs it off because, you know, she’s drunk).
I was pretty sure he’d already had this realisation in every single episode up until now, but apparently this time he means it because it involves a secret plot to make Christine think that he and Imogen are broken up. I’m actually pretty excited to hear their evil plan and discover if it’s anything more substantial than him just setting fire to stuff.
In other news Tom is seen teaching for the first time ever. English, apparently. So, Waterloo Road has two English teachers (well, one English teacher and one alcoholic with a copy of Hemingway) while Chalky has to teach both Maths and IT, in that insightful way Maths teachers were roped into teaching IT when I was at school because ‘you use a calculator, that’s almost the same thing’.
Oh, and Michael agrees to euthanise his dad. All in a day’s work.
Dramatic scene of the week: Nude Heels in her full negotiating glory, leading the mediation between Audrey and Christine. She’s going to quit and become a hot shot lawyer, isn’t she? She wouldn’t even need new shoes.
Byker Grove / School House 101: If you’re a knocked up resident, look forward to Aunt Carol’s special pregnancy breakfast. Sardines for the iron, scrambled eggs for the protein and wholemeal toast for the roughage. And communal toilets, nice.
Lesson of the week: ‘What kind of idiot thinks that starting fires gains respect?’ Take note, Keith Flint.